Essay on MP3 File Sharing Hurts America

929 Words4 Pages
MP3 File Sharing Hurts America

Before the present time of computers and various media player technology, trading music files on the internet was practically unheard of. Today MP3 music files have become file format that is widely “swapped” over the internet. The problem with trading MP3's is that it violates copyright laws. However, this hasn’t stopped the tens of millions of file sharing software users who continue swap MP3’s. MP3 piracy is a costly business for many companies, and the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of “P2P” file sharing. File sharing is a costly, illegal practice that hurts not only the consumers, but the artists as well.

MP3 is a relatively new form of piracy, only being around for about ten years.
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“The Recording Industry Association of America has sued 1,445 people since September, with the latest batch of 531 coming this month against people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, Orlando, Florida, and Trenton, New Jersey. Most of the earlier cases have been settled, for an average of $3,000 each.” According to Mitch Bainwol, the chairman and chief executive for the RIAA, the record two million songs legally sold last week mostly on iTunes and Napster, prove the lawsuits are educating users. He still believes that “the faucet is still absolutely on; I just think that the flow may have been slightly limited.”

However, I’d like to point out, that he cases that have been settled for $3,000 got a deal. According to the RIAA website, online copyright infringement can be punished by up to three years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Repeat offenders can be imprisoned up to 6 years. Individuals also can be held liable for up to $150,000 per pirated song. To me, it seems that buying a CD for fifteen or sixteen bucks isn’t a bad deal at all, compared to the fines and hassle faced when (not if) you get caught.

The effects of piracy are felt by everyone. “There were 130,000 jobs lost due to piracy in the U.S. alone in 1996”. Let’s say that trend has held relatively steady over the past 8 years. That would mean that over 1 million jobs have been
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